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Chris Thompson
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Chris Thompson

Coda Di Volpe



Chris Thompson has spent more than half his life in kitchens. At 35 years old, he’s held positions at two acclaimed restaurants in San Francisco, headed a new concept in the luxury Hotel Teatro in Denver, and is now showcasing his expertise in Southern Italian cuisine as executive chef of [name to be revealed late February 2016] in Chicago’s thriving Southport Corridor neighborhood.

Born in Long Beach, California and raised in the resort town of Telluride, Colorado, Thompson’s his first job was as a short order cook at a lodge. The position allowed him to snowboard during the day, a priority for an outdoorsy 17-­‐year-­‐old, but he says the controlled chaos of the job is what really drew him in.

With a few prep cook positions under his belt, Thompson went on to his first opportunity in fine dining at Telluride’s Rustico Ristorante. He quickly found his niche at the Northern Italian eatery and began exploring charcuterie.

“The mother of one of my Italian chefs would ship special salumi seasonings every month,” says Thompson. “We had no idea what to do with them so we started experimenting since we didn’t have any recipes to follow.” It soon became apparent that he excelled at this craft.

While living in Telluride, Thompson further honed his skills working at several Alchemy Concepts restaurants, apprenticing under chef Jake Linzinmeir beginning in 2001 and being promoted to chef de cuisine of Excelsior Café in 2005. There, Thompson became known for his seasonally-­‐driven menus and creativity with Italian and French-­‐inspired food.

Motivated by the abundance of influential chefs in the Bay Area, Thompson moved to San Francisco in 2008 and spent three years at Spruce, a high-­‐end restaurant in Presidio Heights known for its excellent charcuterie. In 2011 he was tapped to head A16’s charcuterie program, a role that allowed him to build on his knowledge of Italy’s Campania region. A year later he was promoted to executive chef but also retained the title of salumaio to oversee A16’s entire butchery and charcuterie program. Following his time in San Francisco, Thompson moved back to Colorado to open The Nickel, a Rocky Mountain heritage-­‐inspired restaurant in Denver.

Thompson has always admired Chicago’s culinary scene and is happy to call the lakefront city his new home. “My hope is that I can complement the outstanding chefs who’ve paved the way with Italian cuisine and leave my own mark,” Thompson says.

Having traveled extensively throughout Italy, including a recent 3-­‐month visit, Thompson is well versed in authentic Italian ingredients and processes and earned his VPN certification in Naples.

“Not many chefs in Chicago specialize in a particular region of Italy. I’m excited to bring the true culinary identity of Southern Italy to the Midwest with wood-­‐fired Neapolitan pizza, scratch-­‐made pasta and a full-­‐fledged charcuterie program.”

When he isn’t in the kitchen, Thompson enjoys being on the water – whether that’s spending time near the ocean on the Pacific Coast or chartering a boat to fish in Lake Michigan – and hosting dinner parties for his toughest critics: his friends....


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